It is possible to amuse your Toddlers whilst stuck in the car and avoid stress for all the family. Try these games and distractions and enjoy the ride.

Playing games in the car will normally stop your child getting bored and agitated. A good one that you can play with him, is ‘the snooker game’. You ask him to spot the colours of cars in the order of the balls played in a game of snooker. You start with white, then a red, then yellow, and all the way up to black. Have you ever noticed how few yellow, brown or pink cars there are on the roads? In fact there are hardly any pink ones at all. You can keep this game going for as long as you need to. It will keep your child amused for a long while, as well as distracting you.

Another game you can play is looking for the type or make of car. For example a Volkswagen Beetle, or an Aston Martin DB9. If you want the game to last a little longer for your child, then choose a rare type of car. If you want your child to find it quickly, choose a more popular model. There are many variations on this theme that you can use depending on how creative you want to be. For example, it could be marques of lorries, buses, vans or even caravans and trailers.

If you prefer to play more educational games with your child, you can play ‘Capital cities of the world’. This game is both interesting and educational for you and your child and keeps him focussed on fun learning instead of getting frustrated because he is bored in the car. Start with very easy ones such as the Capital city of England or Scotland. You call out the country and your child has to guess its Capital city. Once he gets used to some of the answers, you can progress to other more difficult ones from European or South American countries. You will be amazed just how much knowledge your child will pick up and retain.

As you know, the car can be a very challenging environment with your small child. Occasionally if the games don’t work, you can start singing songs together. This will work well for you and can be used as a means of passing time between two points on the road. If it is fifteen minutes until your exit, you can devise a game for all of you to sing songs, one after the other and you can all give marks out of ten. For example, between two junctions on a Motorway, suggest to everyone in the car to sing an agreed song or nursery rhyme, until the second junction is reached. There must be no exceptions, and everyone must join in. Let your child choose the song as soon as the one you have chosen is finished.

You will see that time passes very quickly like this and it is very good for strengthening bonds between you and your child. It also reinforces your child’s sense of doing fun things with you. Remember you want to have really good fun with your child, and that is an important part of your relationship together! For example, while going under the Dartford Tunnel, you and your child could sing “10 little ducks went swimming one day”. The goal would be to finish the song exactly at the moment when you leave the tunnel. Your child will be enthralled.

You can also invent stories to tell to your child in the car. He will be captivated. For example, you could invent a story about ‘The Wicked Witch of Gott’ (this is a totally made up name). She is an old witch who sits at her window watching the children go to school. If somebody pulls a face at her, she will cast a spell and that face would become permanent on the child who pulled it. You can only get your normal face back if you go up to the Witch’s house and apologise to the Witch in person (nobody wanted to do that). The only other way to get your normal face back is if the wind changes direction. You can adapt this story with different characters and draw it out or shorten it depending on the length of time you are in the car. This will be subconsciously teaching your child to be polite and not to pull faces at people, also to respect others who are different.

Your child will love stories which are told by you, so you can be very creative with them. For example, you could invent one about a family of dinosaurs and its prehistoric adventures, with each dinosaur representing one member of your family. You can let your Toddler choose who is what dinosaur, then you can recount a story which you can make up as you go along. If you let your child choose who you are, you might find that you always end up being the Brontosaurus! I wonder why……

What can you do to make your Toddler understand that she mustn’t be rude? There is a very effective strategy.

It is normal that your Toddler behaves badly when she doesn’t get her own way, but it can be very frustrating for you and her mother. How often does it appear that she is just winding you both up more and more until you are at breaking point. You just want to shout at her or even smack  her to get her to behave. Of course this might work in the short term, but it won’t be a solution in the long term and will not help her understand that her behaviour is not acceptable.

You might say that if you shouldn’t shout at her, what can you do? It is a little like with a Teenager, withdrawing privileges will often work, particularly if it is something your child really loves. Maybe you go to the park on Saturday afternoons and she is able to go and play on the swings, or you go to the children’s farm once a month where she can see all the animals. This will certainly work, but there is also another strategy which has a more immediate effect and works very well.

Your Toddler will certainly have a favourite cuddly toy, who she always sleeps with and who she loves completely. If she is rude and aggressive with you, or her sibling, you can take away her cuddly toy. You can explain to her that if she behaves like that, her cuddly toy has told you that he doesn’t want to stay in her room. He doesn’t want to spend time with a ‘nasty’ girl, who isn’t nice to people.

She will soon learn that she has to behave properly and after a few occasions of doing this, you will find that her behaviour will change. Of course, then you will have to overcome the next challenge and we all know, there are plenty of them with Toddlers!

How can you manage those car journeys for bored young children?

How many times have you dreaded the thought of getting in the car with your small children and wondered how you will manage them this time? Youngsters get bored notoriously quickly and it doesn’t take long for them to get noisy, frustrated and sometimes aggressive. You will have experienced that. So how can you make those car journeys not only tolerable, but enjoyable?

The answer is distraction. You will know that if your child is playing up, the only way to manage is to distract him and in a car, there is plenty around you to do this. Games always work, as does singing together. First of all, what games could you play? All around you are other cars, so you could start with ‘spot the mini’. The first person in the car, and it includes you and mum as well, to spot a mini, gets a point. If it is a yellow one, then you get two points. The first person to reach ten points gets to choose what the next car is to be spotted. This can last for as long as you want, and your child will love the challenge and the competition, particularly if he beats you and mum!

If you prefer singing to playing a game, then you could try the following. You take the distance between two points on the road. It could be between two road junctions, or villages, in fact any two landmarks are good for this. Then somebody in the car has to sing a nursery rhyme or rhymes, and time it so that it begins when you pass point A, and finishes exactly when you reach point B. You will be amazed how much your child will enjoy this challenge, singing, finishing right on time, and knowing you are listening to him. Once he has finished, he gets to choose who will sing next.

Try these, I’m sure they will help make the car a less stressful place for everyone in your family. There is nothing better than arriving at your destination relaxed and refreshed with good tempered children…………


How can I calm down my 8 year old child when they start shouting and won’t listen to reason?

How often have you found yourself faced with an angry child, who just won’t listen to you, and starts screaming their head off? It has happened to me a few times, and is always very challenging to handle. But it is possible to manage this kind of situation, I can assure you, but it requires a lot of patience, control and effort.

The key is to remain calm and let them ‘blow off the steam’. Very often they will explode for something as simple as being asked to move their shoes which have been left at the bottom of the stairs. Or you walking in front of the TV when they are watching a program. If it interferes with what they are currently doing, it will particularly annoy them.

When they explode, and you feel your own frustration rising, take a step back. If you allow yourself to get angry, the situation will degenerate into a shouting match. They may only be 8, and still quite small, but it is amazing just how loud they can shout! When you feel this happening, step back and start counting to 10 slowly in your head, and never give them the satisfaction of seeing you lose your cool.

This will demonstrate to them that they cannot rile you, and you always remain calm in any situation. They want a reaction from you, but by not giving them one, they will learn that you are always in control. Once they have finished shouting, you can then calmly reiterate what you were saying to them.

If you behave like this, on the very rare occasion that you do actually feel the need to become angry, they will instantly know to back off, and comply with your request. Your controlled anger will always be a more effective strategy. It is a skill which needs to be practiced, as I’m sure you know how easy it is to lose your cool with your child. It took me a couple of years to find this strategy, after making many mistakes myself.